Stefan Magen What Can a Behavioral Perspective Teach Us on the Relationship Between Law and Morality?

Stefan Magen is Professor of Public Law, Philosophy of Law, and Economic Analysis of Law at Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany). In 2005, Magen took on the position of Visiting Scholar at Berkley School of Law, at the University of California (USA). Magen has won the Dissertation Prize of the Walter-Kolb-Memorial Prize, awarded by the city of Frankfurt/Main, for his doctoral dissertation in 2003. His doctoral thesis discussed body politics and religious freedom. Today, Magen continues to investigate the relationship between morality, law, and behavior. As such, Magen combines various interdisciplinary approaches, from social psychology to behavioral law, and economics.

Area of Research

Social Ontology, Naturalistic Legal Philosophy, Behaviorally Informed Concept of Law, Role of Moral Intuitions in Law, Economic Analysis of Public Law, Law on Religion

Stefan Magen. "Philosophy of Law." In The International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences., edited by Neils J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes. Kidlington: Elsevier, 2015: 24-30.  
Stefan Magen. Körperschaftsstatus und Religionsfreiheit. Zur Bedeutung des Art. 137 Abs. 5 WRV im Kontext des Grundgesetzes. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004.  

since 2010

Professor for Public Law, Legal Philosophy and Law and Economics

Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) (more details)


Visiting Scholar

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy


Lawyer and Of Councel

Kliemt & Vollstädt, Düsseldorf


Senior Research Fellow

Max Planck Society

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods


Law Clerk to the Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Winfried Hassemer


Undergraduate and Graduate Research Assistant

Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) (more details)

Chair for the Sociology and Philosophy of Law



University of Bonn (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn)

Thesis "Gerechtigkeit als Proprium des Rechts. Eine deskriptive Theorie auf empirischer Grundlage"


Doctor of Laws

Goethe University of Frankfurt (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Thesis "Körperschaftsstatus und Religionsfreiheit"


Second State Exam in Law

Ministry of Justice, Northrhine-Westfalia


Master in Philosophy

Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) (more details)


First State Exam in Law

Appeals Court Düsseldorf


- Walter-Kolb-Gedächtnispreis, Frankfurt am Main (2004)

© RUB/Marquard

Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Located in the midst of the dynamic, hospitable metropolitan area of the Ruhr, in the heart of Europe, the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) with its 20 faculties, RUB’s disciplinary institutional units, is home to 5,600 employees and over 41,000 students from 130 countries. All the great scientific disciplines are united on one compact campus.The RUB is on its way to becoming one of the leading European universities of the 21st Century. Almost all courses are offered as Bachelor and Master degree programmes. Our excellence programmes have made themselves an international name: RUB Research School as an international college for structured doctoral research in the life sciences, natural sciences, engineering, the humanities and social sciences; the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV (Ruhr Explores Solvation); interfaculty and interdisciplinary Research Departments, which are mutually, nationally and internationally networked, sharpen the profile of the RUB. Added to this is an unsurpassed programme for the promotion of Early Career Researchers, and an excellent infrastructure. What makes it all come alive is the people who meet on campus with their thirst for knowledge, their curiosity, and their commitment. They help shape the RUB and their open-mindedness makes the RUB an attractive place for people from around the world. (Source: RUB)


The research presented in this video analyzes the relationship between law and morality, and asks what role morality plays in social interactions. Using empirical findings from social psychology, behavioral law and economics, it is deduced what people generally perceive as just or fair. The findings show that moral rules enable cooperation and how moral intuitions impact rule following behavior. As STEFAN MAGEN explains, the findings suggest the need for the law to create shared standards to make moral intuitions viable for society.

LT Video Publication DOI:

Gerechtigkeit als Proprium des Rechts. Eine deskriptive Theorie auf empirischer Grundlage

  • Stefan Magen
  • Published in 2009
Stefan Magen. Gerechtigkeit als Proprium des Rechts. Eine deskriptive Theorie auf empirischer Grundlage. Bonn: Habilitation Thesis, 2009.